Are You Mean to Yourself?

May 14, 2018

On the bulletin board next to my desk hangs a sign with the following words:

I’m mean to myself sometimes, and I’m betting you are, too. For instance:

  • When you goof up, do you replay the mistake in your head, over and over again, mentally cringing at your error? Do you think you shouldn’t have made a mistake?
  • When you’re sick, tired, or just not feeling up to par, do you always “power through,” regardless of how you feel? 
  • Does your inner critic receive your full attention and agreement when he/she begins to speak? 
  • Do you practice real self-care on a regular basis? By real self-care, I mean things like eating a healthful diet, sleeping enough, using stress-relief techniques when you’re feeling anxious—generally, just taking care of yourself.
For our own happiness’ sake, I think we should be nicer to ourselves all the time, even when we feel we least deserve it.

A few ways to be nice to yourself include:

Talking to yourself with respect. Reprogram your thoughts. Next time you begin to mentally beat yourself up for a mistake or criticize yourself for some real or imagined failing, STOP. Take a breath. Admit, yes, I made a mistake. I’m human. I will do better next time. I’m doing the best I can. Treat yourself—even in your thoughts—as you would a much-loved friend.

Treating your body lovingly. Feed it well, move it, let it rest. And talk to it nicely. Go slow enough, or take enough breaks during the day, that you can hear what it has to say.

Having more fun! Schedule at least one thing just for fun every day. Working out doesn’t count, unless you do it for fun. Maybe it’s a half hour of reading at lunchtime, a glass of wine with your partner before dinner, or playing a game with a friend online. Whatever simple pleasures make your heart happy.

When you are kinder to yourself, you’ll probably find it easier to cut everyone else some slack as well. We’re all imperfect, we all lose concentration now and then, we—gasp—make mistakes! It’s much easier to be patient and forgiving with others when that’s “where you live,” so to speak.

Being nicer to ourselves is not only a way to feel happier, it is also one way to add to the sum total of kindness and gentleness in the world—something the world desperately needs.

How are you mean to yourself? What can you do today to be nice to yourself?

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  1. Kathy this was such a great post - been hearing similar thoughts from other sources. Maybe God is trying to tell me something. Thanks for the reminder. Hugs!

    1. Maybe so, Debbie. I can't really imagine your being mean to anyone, including yourself, though. :)